Markit PMI data shows the Japanese, European manufacturing sectors in contraction
Stocks edged lower Thursday morning, as investors weigh reports that U.S. and Chinese negotiators were beginning to outline a deal to end a long-running trade spat with fresh data out of Europe, Japan and the U.S. that provide further evidence of slowing global growth.
How are the major benchmarks performing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.35% fell 72 points, or 0.3%, to 25,884, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.43% lost 9 points, or 0.3%, to 2,776. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.63% fell 25 points, or 0.3%, to 7,465.
What’s driving the market?
U.S. and Chinese negotiators have started to outline a trade deal, Reuters reported Wednesday night, citing sources familiar with the talks. The report said agreements in principle are being drawn up in six key areas: forced technology transfers and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade.
Negotiators have continued talks in Washington this week, following a round of discussions last week in Beijing. President Donald Trump earlier this week said that a March 1 deadline isn’t a “magical” date, which investors took as a sign that tariffs on imports of Chinese goods may not automatically rise at that time, if progress continues toward a deal.
Fears of slowing global growth were underscored by the release of survey data from Europe and Japan that showed both economies manufacturing sectors contracting in February, with export-dependent German manufacturers reporting the worst drop in activity in more than six years.
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